James Bouknight and Kai Jones may be new to the Charlotte Hornets but that doesn’t mean the veterans on the roster are going to take it easy on the two rookies during training camp.
In fact, as Terry Rozier said, it is quite the opposite: “You gotta kill ’em.”
The statement by Rozier doesn’t mean the veterans on the roster won’t help the two rookies. They have welcomed them aboard and have offered guidance and willingly answered any questions they have had during training camp.
Rozier even organized private workouts for the team in Miami recently.
“The older guys here have been such a big help for me,” Bouknight said. “When you come into the league, you really don’t know what to expect. Everybody is so much stronger, faster. People have kids, like go home to three kids and a wife so it’s just different. We have older guys and vets that show me the ropes and help me get through the days and they’re going to help me get through training camp and the season.”
Rozier sees a player like Bouknight and knows he can help him with a little tough love. The added competition will only help Bouknight improve his overall game, especially when he knows he is getting maximum effort from everyone on the court.
The veteran knows Bouknight will eventually appreciate that in the future.
“He is a guy you can’t take it easy on,” Rozier said. “A Brooklyn kid, a tough guy who can play. You teach him all of the little things but you get after him in practice and compete because he is going to appreciate that more than anything. Nobody gave me nothing when I first came into the league and I still appreciate that to this day.”
Bouknight finished a strong stint in the Las Vegas Summer League with the Hornets last month, averaging 16.8 points, 3.8 assists and 2.8 rebounds in four appearances. He produced his best game after recording 23 points and eight assists on Aug. 12.
Meanwhile, Jones posted 9.8 points, 9.4 rebounds and 1.6 assists in five games. His best game came on Aug. 16 with 16 points and nine rebounds while his 16 rebounds hauled in on Aug. 14 were the fourth-most in a game this year.
The two players represent a big part of the future in Charlotte and should see plenty of playing time this season. With the help of Rozier and the rest of the team, they figure to be ready for whatever is thrown at them.